Who is niall dating
Niall's legendary military skill was on a par with his sexual prowess. This was expected of someone of his status in a polygamous society where all children, from wives or concubines, were acknowledged. After the death of Niall of the Nine Hostages, one of his sons, Laedhaire, became High King.
He and his descendants continued to dominate much of Ireland for most of the next six centuries.
Some of the modern surnames associated with the Ui Neill include (with or without the O prefix): Neill, Boyle, Bradley, Campbell, Cannon, Coleman, Connor, Devlin, Doherty, Donnell, Donnelly, Egan, Flynn, Gallagher, Gormley, Hynes, Kane, Mc Govern, Mc Loughlin, Mc Manus, Molloy, Reilly, Rourke and Quinn.
However, the genetic evidence of the study does seem to show that the strongest associations are with the surnames traditionally linked to the Ui Neill ie Doherty, Gallagher, O'Reilly, Quinn (see box left).
Genealogical pedigrees dating back to the 5th century, when Laedhaire's children and grandchildren were around, are considered accurate.
← The story of Niall's promiscuity (a trait that, according to Celtic thinking, went hand in hand with natural suitability for kinship) dates back to at least the 11th century.
Such tales as these – old hag transformed by physical intimacy of a young man – are widespread in literature around the world.
The O'Neill dynasty (Ui Néill means 'descended from Niall') is an historical certainty, even if its founder is not.
These names continue to be most prevalent in the Northwest of Ireland, the historical stronghold of the Ui Neill, where the study found the genetic fingerprint of Niall of the Nine Hostages in the y-DNA of one in five men (21%).